Wed. May 29th, 2024

Speech by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri at the retirement “An Evening with LaoDa – Pursuing The Malaysian Dream”  dinner with DAP Central Executive Committee (CEC) members and DAP MPs at Noble House, Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, 12th April 2020:

Pledge to fully support the DAP leadership but decline the CEC proposal to be DAP mentor

When I  announced my political retirement at the DAP congress on March 20, 2022 it was a retirement from party elections and leadership, parliamentary and state assembly elections.

One cannot retire completely from politics unless one retires from life, for politics impinges on every aspect of one’s life.

I thank the new CEC members and the DAP Secretary-General Anthony Loke for the proposal for me to become “DAP mentor”. As a die-hard DAP worker, who had spent 56 years of my life to advance the cause of the DAP  for Malaysia to be a world-class great country and seen the DAP metamorphose from a small opposition party in the sixties  to become one of the leading political parties in Malaysia half a century later, I will always be available to offer my views and advice on the future of Malaysia and  the DAP’s new direction.

There is however no need for any position, and I am therefore declining the CEC proposal to be DAP mentor.  I have informed Anthony Loke a few days earlier of my decision – that he can expect my full support for  his leadership as the  sixth DAP Secretary-General although I have no  party position.

When 56 years ago, there was the proposal that I became involved in the formation of the DAP, I had no second thoughts whatsoever.

We were driven by the idealism of wanting Malaysia to become a world-class great nation, as Malaysia has  the potential and the capabilities to be a world-class great nation.

 The DAP had always been a patriotic Malaysian party driven by the Malaysian Dream to a world-class great nation. We do not have a Malay Dream, Chinese Dream, Indian Dream, Kadazan Dream or Dayak Dream but a Malaysian Dream.

It is worth studying as to how a political movement committed to the welfare of all Malaysians could be demonised after half century into a party which was anti-Malay, anti-Islam and even communistic.

This is the power of negative propaganda, fake news and false allegations, but unless we can find the answer to such demonization, Malaysia will never achieve her potential to be a world-class great nation.

DAP had never been anti any race or religion because this is  contrary to our basic beliefs that Malaysia is a plural and diverse multi-racial, multi-lingual , multi-religious and multi-cultural nation.

In my first speech in Parliament 51 years ago on February 23, 1971, I invited the government to produce a single instance from DAP speeches and statements to show that the DAP opposed efforts to raise the economic standard of living of the Malays.

I said: “We want to create a classless community of Malaysians based on fellowship, co-operation and service, where there is no exploitation of man by man, class by class or race by race.

“We support any measure which will help better  the lot of the Malay poor. But we are strongly opposed  to the use of Malay special  rights to enrich the new Malay rich to make them richer, while the mass of peasantry and poor are exploited as ever.”

I decried pernicious and racialist doctrine equating economic disparity and imbalance with the racial division in the country and warned of dire consequences of any attempt to impose racial theories and solutions to basically economic problems by pitting one race against another, as it was a “monstrous falsehood” that “all the haves in Malaysia are non-Malays  while the Malays are all the have-nots”.

Half a century later, I am still waiting for that “single instance” to show that the DAP is anti-Malay, anti-Islam – and of all things, the DAP has become “communist”!

In 1973, I even announced that we were preparing to form the Perak State government in the1974 general election and I announced that Ibrahim Singgeh, then Perak State Assemblyman for Tapah Road, as Mentri Besar-designate.

We have gone through “hell and high water” to survive as a political party and transform from a small opposition party to one of the major political parties of today.

In the first general elections that DAP contested in 1969, we won13 parliamentary and 31 state assembly seats. But unprecedented measures were taken during that period to fulfil the public prophecy of a top UMNO leader that DAP was “one foot in the grave” through a combination of political blackmail and political corruption. As a result, four of  the 13 DAP MPs and 11 of the 31 DAP State Assemblymen of the1969 batch defected became “political frogs”

That was why on March 21, 1978, I moved a private member’s bill in Parliament to ban party hopping by MPs requiring the vacancy of the seat and causing an by-election to be held, but I did not expect we have to wait for half a century to put it on the statute books.

This has still to be done but it shows the consistency of the DAP to ensure the political integrity of MPs, and I am leaning to the position that this could be done by amending  Article 48 of the Constitution on the disqualification of MPs.

For the last three weeks since I announced my retirement from competitive politics, I have been mulling over the following questions:

1. Is it possible to reverse the national  decline of the last half a century, where we have lost out to Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and Vietnam. Come 2,040 or 2,050, are we going to lose out to more countries, including Indonesia and the Philippines?

2. Is it possible to reset the national policies of the  last half a century, for instance the New Economic Policy, which was meant to last a span of 20 years but have lasted over half a century creating UMNO-putras while leaving the Malay masses as poor as ever.

3. Can we convince Malaysians that Malaysia has only a future if we return to the founding principles of Malaysia and the Rukunegara – separation of powers, parliamentary democracy,  rule of law, good governance, integrity, human rights, unity and solidarity?

4. Is the Malaysian Dream for Malaysia to become a world-class great country an impossible dream?

5. Will there be a second Malaysia Diaspora, with over a million of the best and brightest Malaysians regardless of class splattered all over the world in the first Malaysian Diaspora, to make other nations instead of Malaysia, world-class great nations?

The over-two-year Covid-19 Pandemic has delayed  the take-off of the Second Malaysian Diaspora.

There are now signs that the Covid-19 Pandemic is coming to an end, replaced by the endemic phase.  Today, the total global Covid-19 cases have just passed the 500 million mark.

For the second day since Feb. 5, 2022  under the Omicron wave, Malaysia reported less than 10,000 cases – 7,739 cases and 19 Covid-19 deaths. Even India, which at one time recorded 414,433 Covid-19 cases a day in May last year, reported three-digit daily cases yesterday.

In the post-Covid-19 pandemic, will the Second Malaysian Diaspora take off, where the best and brightest Malaysians opted to stay overseas instead of being at home to make Malaysia a world-class great nation confirming Malaysia in the trajectory of a kleptocracy, kakistocracy and a failed state?

Can we replace the despair and disillusionment with the democratic process starting with the Sheraton Move conspiracy with hope and vision for a New Malaysia as a world-class great nation?

I will leave the questions and challenges to the new CEC and the new generation of Malaysians.